iMOD vs Cowon J3 which one should I get?
iMOD vs Cowon J3
In practice, they'll both sound the same unless you're using the Cowon's BBE (because all good amps sound the same, minus trivialities of signature you can EQ.) I'd say that the Cowon is cheaper, more convenient, and if you listen to rock then the BBE stuff is actually pretty damn good.
I'm waiting for a platform the can run SonicMax and/or Exciter with as good a DAC/amp as the J3 - and the J3 is good enough that I'm willing to wait indefinitely.
The J3 has more versatile EQ letting you tune to your tastes more, so that to your ears it will probably sound better.
Other than that.... The truth is that except for sound signature, which a decent player can change with EQ, all competent DAPs will sound the same. It's headphones and IEMs that have really interesting characteristics that can't be duplicated with EQ. The J3 has studio derived BBE technology for EQ and enough amp and battery capacity that you don't need to think about adding an amp to drive any sane portable headphone.
However, sq with either will depend far more on the headphones/iem than the DAP - my $30 Clip+ driving my HD25's kicks the J3's ass playing rock when the J3 is driving Ety HF5s (the Etys are great on clarity but have gutless bass.) If you want good sq, the real decision is what IEMs/heaphones to buy, then leftover money gets used for the DAP.
Warning! People who believe that amps can have magical properties indetectible by electronic engineering will disagree me with and say the mod pod will sound completely different depending on the amp you choose and that this can't be duplicated by EQ... However, these claims never survive blind testing, so a sensible person would ignore them.
can anyone reocmmend a replacement for the j3 (or advise where i can get a j3, unfortunately i lost mine)
am using shure se535 special edition, but also plug into audioengine A5 desktop speakers
most concerned with sound quality, but loved the j3's 32gb storage (plus sd slots) and battery life. would ideally like to stay in the same price range and not carry a separate amp.